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This is an experimental, informal blog for learning about blogging, blog development, and blog-related professional development activities.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Academic rigo(u)r

Just a juicy quote to link to an interesting discussion:

"...[A]cademic rigor means an intellectual commitment to study issues thoroughly with open-minded, vigorous and ethical inquiry. It means accepting the possibility that evidence will lead us to think differently than we do at present" (garyh, LearningTimes Discussions, General, Academic rigor, February 13, 2008).

Blogged with Flock

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Forgot to Enable Request for Follow-Ups

Forgotten to enable follow-up notification on a peer's blog in the Blogging for Educators workshop (My Blogging Projects), I may have. Nevertheless, I've captured my reflective response here:

You've committed to starting two blogs, in addition to this one, I suppose. More power to you!

The proficiency levels of your students may dictate whether you task them with blogging, individually. However, the linguistic and technological proficiency of incoming students may be a mystery.

If I may cut to the chase, whether you require technical word verification on student posts, or moderate comments; you suggest that you will encourage "students [who blog] to see their class blog as an E-portfolio."

Since I'm keen on portfolios, I wonder how you may guide your students to articulate portfolios on their blogs. I'm looking forward to sharing your vision.

Cheers, Paul
22 February 2008 19:12

Friday, February 22, 2008

VoiceThread from the B4E Workshop

Not much to say here except check out the blogging ideas represented in this VoiceThread from the Blogging for Educators workshop:




Had to use the small version, because the big one didn't fit the page. For a micro-review of the tool (VoiceThread), please see the LTD Project Wiki (AudioPodcastVideo, VoiceThread).

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Quick Captures from Eduspaces

With free services, I gather it's better not to keep all of your eggs in one basket. Now that I've decided to opt out of forced migration from Eduspaces.net to EducatorsCentral.org (a projected TakingITGlobal service), and thanks to limited investment in Eduspaces over the past couple of years, it has been relatively easy to self-migrate those bits of content and resources that I had concentrated in Eduspaces to other free services, before my Eduspaces account gets deleted:

  1. Profile information (c. 2006):
    • Self-description,
    • Interests, and
    • Skills; and
  2. RSS feeds (5) to:

Proceeding in a small pieces loosely linked fashion, I have updated and relocated the RSS feeds described above. They are now in a temporary PageFlakes page (currently private),

The Eduspaces community links (above), also updated, will probably break down by the second week of March 2008, due to the service migration detailed in a previous post (Any Elgg users out there?, 2008.02.14). The same goes for the hot-linked keywords listed under interests and skills in the profile information that I've cut and pasted in below (Who am I...).

It may be possible to update those links once the actual migration from eduspaces.net to educatorcentral.org occurs, by replacing all of the domain names in the link URLs. However, I plan not to rebuild dozens more links - at least not anytime soon.

Who am I?

An educator and a learner, a parent and a child, a colleague and a friend.

Any Elgg users out there?

If you are contemplating transfer of your blog, communities, discussions, feeds, friends list..., and associated online material to the service provider taking over old Elgg accounts from eduspaces.net, you probably ought to have a long hard think on the part of the new service agreement about publicly accessible content:

... [W]ith respect to Content you submit or make available for inclusion on publicly accessible areas of the Service, you grant TakingITGlobal the following world-wide, royalty free and non-exclusive license, as applicable:
  • With respect to Content (including photos, graphics, audio or video) you submit or make available for inclusion on publicly accessible areas of the Service, the perpetual, irrevocable and fully sublicensable license to use, distribute, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, publicly perform and publicly display such Content (in whole or in part) and to incorporate such Content into other works in any format or medium now known or later developed.
TakingITGlobal,
Terms of Service and Privacy Policy,
7. Materials submitted or made available for inclusion on the service,
retrieved February 14, 2008 (bold emphases added)

I gather that you have until February 27, 2008, to state your preference for migration to the new service by filling out a form when you log in to eduspaces.net. After migration to the new service provider scheduled for the second week of March, if you go for it, the domain will become educatorcentral.org (Eduspaces, personal correspondence, February 12, 2008).

When you login to Eduspaces, you immediately get directed to a form requiring a decision. If you don't decide when you log in, you can carry out no activity in your eduspaces account. If you opt not to migrate; you will "get removed" at the time of the migration (misja, Eduspaces account migration, c. February 8, 2008), or have your "account deleted" (Eduspaces account migration [php form]).

Then links to your account and associated content may become obsolete (as, I suppose, may the links in this post). Thank goodness I haven't invested much in Eduspaces.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Washable Flash Drives: Don't Try...

Believe it or not!

Flash drives (aka USB or thumb drives) may be washable. Use cold water, biodegradable detergent, and then air dry - thoroughly!

The possibility of flash-drive wash-ability captured my attention after my spouse found, in laundered garments, a flash drive that I had used (and still use) to transfer files between computers on which I use diverse Mac and Windows operating systems. This happened twice, before I cottoned on to the possibility of wash-ability.

However, I've put another thumb-drive though the wash more recently (check your pockets). Wash-ability seems not to be limited to particular devices. Although I'd like to rave about both kinds of drives that have survived washing, I don't have both in front of me now. So I'd just like to say:

Dont't try this at home, folks; I'm a flash-device-washing professional!

Friday, February 08, 2008

ELT notes: On Gadgets and Widgets (Ceraso)

In ELT notes: On Gadgets and Widgets, Claudia C. makes a host of fine points about audiences, purposes, and the choices that we make to suit both - as well as ourselves - as bloggers, community members, and educators. I am grateful to the organizers of the Blogging for Educators workshop for pointing out Claudia's post again this year (Blogging4Educators Pageflakes, Week 4, Extra Reading [February 2008]).

In conclusion, Claudia suggests that "adding widgets [to blogs] for the sake of practice is creating a noise in communication with students, audience and community." She goes on, "Widgets are meant to be simple. Learn about them, know what there is available[,] and trust yourself that you will manage to install them pretty fast when you or the purpose of your blog post needs them" (emphasis added, pab).

Claudia is careful, verging on fastidious in her choices of widgets for her teaching blog (The FCE Blog), and meticulous about the layout (no sidebars) and presentation of other gadgets (all at the end of posts) on her professional development blog (ELT Notes). I think she is modeling as much as telling us what helps learners and other readers get right to the heart of her ideas (February 15, 2007).

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Vox Privacy Zones & Blended Learning


This illustration was originally for a private group on Vox that colleagues and I use to conduct and collect discussions related to our teaching, where I wrote "This graphic represents four out of five privacy levels that Vox affords. The fifth level, zero of four if you will, is public" (personal correspondence, October 14, 2007). As you might guess, we are all quite keen on the fine-grained privacy controls that Vox provides on every post. We are interested as educators in adopting and adapting or subverting those privacy controls for use in teaching situations.

I have a bit over a month to decide whether to take the leap to teaching with Vox in a new class starting in April. However, in face-to-face discussion last month (January 2008), a colleague who had introduced students to Vox last year suggested that the friends and neighbors display features, along with automated recent post and comment feeds for groups, could quickly outgrow both individual and group blog display spaces.

Only so many (three to five?) recent contributions will remain visible in automated Vox feeds. So, while perhaps suitable for groups of up to a dozen members, for classes any larger than that, aggregating everyone's individual contributions in a single group might not work so well. Especially in the space of class meetings (blended face-to-face & online learning), fresh comments and posts from group members would quickly disappear from view.

Do any of you have experience using Vox blogs in blended learning environments, or any thoughts on trade-offs between community building and learner privacy? If so, I'd love to hear them.

Monday, February 04, 2008

What gives for RSS?

Thanks to continuing stimuli from the Blogging for Educators workshop, it has dawned on me (or is about to) that RSS feeds will soon replace most, if not all, cross-links as conjunctive interfaces among: blogs, webpages, and wikis (and whatever else is out there that serves up RSS feeds). The transition from links to feeds may delineate moves from Web 1.x to Web 2.n.

As long as display space is available on your home page, for instance in Flock (a browser [thanks to Mary H. for turning me on to Flock a year or so ago]), Google or Yahoo! readers, PageFlakes, or a host of other RSS feed aggregators; links will serve only a subordinate function: Click and see, instead of see and click.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Recent Comment Feed on Your Blog

I've just added a "Recent Comments" RSS feed near the top of the sidebar on this blog. Since students can do it with little face-to-face coaching, and advice from their peers, I hope you all can, too. Here is a recipe for a feed to add to your blogger sidebar (via the Layout interface):

[YourBlogURL]/feeds/comments/default/?alt=atom
All you need to do to add a recent comments feed to your sidebar is:
  1. Replace "[YourBlogURL]" in the recipe above with your complete blog URL, starting with the "http://..." part;
  2. Open your Blogger Dashboard;
  3. Click on the "Manage: ... Layout" link in your Dashboard;
  4. Click on "Add a Page Element" link in the sidebar preview;
  5. Click on the "Add To Blog" button for the Feed tool;
  6. Paste in your comment feed URL; then
  7. Click "Continue" to fine-tune the feed settings!
Note: I added the "?alt=rss" bit to the end of the default feed [in the initial recipe, instead of ... =atom], because the add a feed tool in the Blogger layout preview [initially] didn't recognize the default [atom] feed address.

(Writing Studio Blog, Comment Feed Recipe...,
October 24, 2oo7)
It works with "atom" now, and seems to refresh quicker than with RSS specifications.

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